Youngsters will benefit from cash for sport facilities

Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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UP TO £200,000 worth of contributions from developers could be going towards improving sports facilities in Havant.

Councillors will decide next week how to spend cash that has been earmarked for one of three potential projects.

Havant Academy, Bidbury Mead recreation ground and Front Lawn recreation ground all need updated facilities but it is Front Lawn, in Leigh Park, which is the favoured option.

If it is given the green light it will get a three quarter sized artificial turf pitch, the tennis courts will be upgraded and there will be an extension to the pavilion and store building to provide a clubhouse and venue for the community – in partnership with Havant and Waterlooville Youth Football Club.

Working alongside the young persons’ charity Big World Impact, set up by Leigh Park-born millionaire businesswoman Jo White, officers at Havant Borough Council hope the new facilities will increase sports participation in the area and reduce anti-social behaviour.

It would mean a contribution of £200,000 from the council – coming from developers’ contributions secured when planning permission has been granted for large developments.

Councillor Mike Fairhurst, who sits on the cabinet, said all three projects were rigorously scrutinised before officers came to the decision to recommend Front Lawn to the cabinet for the cash.

‘We had a very difficult decision to make,’ said Cllr Fairhurst.

‘There were three options – all very good. We would obviously like to do all three but can only do one.

‘To help decide, a scientific scoring system was employed and Front Lawn recreation ground came out top.

‘One of the good things is that a lot of the work that Big World Impact does will be much enhanced by putting this in.’

A report by the charity found there is a lack of sporting facilities for young people in the Havant area.

The report said: ‘As we develop increased training and awareness workshops it is a priority that we source a community facility where young people have a sense of ownership and facilities that are assessible and credible for social inclusion, sports development, training and personal and social development.’

The cabinet will meet on September 3 in the council chamber, The Plaza, Havant.